High cholesterol is one of the greatest problems of modern lifestyle and the health problems that come along with it. A high level of cholesterol in your body may be the cause of various ailments viz. coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and many more. Although there are medicinal treatments for keeping your cholesterol under control, doctors suggest that the most effective ways to keep your cholesterol level under control are maintaining a healthy diet and working out extra calories.
You cannot expect a radical change in your cholesterol level overnight. But, if you maintain a healthy lifestyle (preferably with the advice of your fitness trainer), you can see noticeable changes within a few weeks.
Breaheful tells you Some natural ingredients have been proved beneficial for reducing our bad cholesterol (LDL) and you can easily incorporate them in your regular diet. For that, you need not go rummaging through the food marts or online stores to have your pick. With some of the commonly used vegetables and kitchen ingredients, you can create your magic!
Note: If you are on medication, consult your healthcare provider before starting a new diet.
Some Common Foods that Reduce Cholesterol
1. Amla (Gooseberry)
Amla which is also known as Indian Gooseberry acclaims its multiple benefits in our body as mentioned in the Ayurveda. It is known for its high content of Vitamin C, essential minerals, phenolic compounds, antioxidants, and amino acids. According to a research study by the Indian Journal of Pharmacology in 2012, Amla helps in reducing our triglycerides and cholesterol level due to its hypolipidemic effect in blood and also protects our bones from atherosclerosis. Amla is widely used in hypolipidemic therapy. It helps in flushing out toxins from your system and keeps your liver healthy.
Taking 1 or 2 amlas every day or 1 tsp. of amla powder with a glass of lukewarm water will keep you healthy from inside out. You can also take it in the form of capsules.
Lemons are great toxic cleansers of our body as suggested by many research studies. Lemon contains an organic chemical called flavonoids which help in reducing LDL in your blood. Juice of one lemon every day gives your required daily dose of Vitamin C, cleanses your internal system and most importantly lowers your LDL level. Some plant chemicals viz. Diosmin and Hesperidin help in reducing our cholesterol level.
The best way to consume lemon is to squeeze the juice of one lemon in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it in an empty stomach early in the morning. You can add lemon juice in your food for similar health benefits. Following this routine for 2 weeks will certainly make you feel the difference.
3. Fishes Containing Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fishes containing omega 3 fatty acids work well for reducing your cholesterol content. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Hilsa fish (Tenualosailisha) plays a major role in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. Among the other fishes that have a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids are a sardine, tuna, trout, herring, and others.
Hilsa can be cooked with very little oil as the fish itself secrets oil while you are cooking. You can prepare smoked or baked hilsaas both these preparations can be made with very little oil. Similarly, you can make grilled or baked preparations with salmon, trout and other fishes.
You can also take fish oil supplements in the form of capsules (after discussing with your healthcare provider) for the same benefits. But, for pampering your taste buds don’t forget trying the tasty recipes out of these fishes.
4. Increase Your Fiber Intake
When it comes to including fiber in your diet for reducing cholesterol, oats must be at the top of your priority as it is one of the most well-balanced and readily available nutritious grains. Oats contain a high amount of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps in flushing out bad cholesterol.
From ½ a cup of dry oats you can get a sufficient amount of essential nutrients required for your nourishment- zinc, Vitamins B1 & B5, protein, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, copper, and calories.
It also contains trace amounts of calcium, potassium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B3.
To make your oatmeal breakfast tasty, you can add slices of banana or orange or blackberries to add more fat-soluble fiber to your portion. Try using whole grain oats which have a higher amount of fiber content in them. You can prepare innovative dishes by adding powdered whole grain oats to your soup or any baked cuisine. You will get the same health benefits using oats in this way.
Garlic is used as a flavoring agent across the world and it is known for reducing your cholesterol level from the blood. Garlic is eaten in both raw and cooked form and also in the form of capsules as a supplement. As per the NCCIH reports, garlic helps in reducing your LDL and blood pressure. It also slows down the process of atherosclerosis.
Some other studies show garlic or garlic supplements may increase blood clotting time or prolong bleeding. So, if you are taking blood-thinning medicines or awaiting surgery you must consult an expert before taking such supplements.
6. Green Tea
According to modern research studies, green tea has a significant effect in cutting down your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood due to the presence of catechin (a type of antioxidant) in it. A meta-analysis has been carried out by The Harvard Medical School in 2011 which suggests the beneficial effect of green tea in controlling cardiovascular diseases, LDL and Triglyceride. It is taken as a beverage.
7. Red Yeast Rice
It is a popular Chinese cooking ingredient and medicine which is made of red rice mixed with yeast. Red yeast rice has a high amount of monacolin K which helps in reducing cholesterol levels in your blood. Foods that are made from this kind of rice may help keep your LDL level under control.
For adults, 600 mg of monacolin is sufficient for lowering your cholesterol level.
8. More Fruits and Veggies
Vegetables and fruits that have a low content of saturated fat are known for their cholesterol-lowering effect in humans. Veggies like sweet potato, broccoli, eggplant, beans, peas and fruits like prunes, berries, apples, etc. all are known for their high fiber content and therefore play important roles in cholesterol reduction.
For preparing a nutritious meal you can prepare a vegetable salad with a dressing of lime and pepper. In the same way, a bowl of fruit custard or fruit salad will make a good portion for your evening snack. Such recipes will fill up your stomach and keep a check on your cholesterol at the same time.
Adding soy and soy products have been proved to be beneficial for your cardiac health and high cholesterol level. Soy and soy food products (e.g. soy milk, soy yogurt, soy chunks, soy nut butter, soy energy bar, etc.) have a low amount of soluble fat which helps in lowering your cholesterol. As per the FDA recommendation, 25gm of soy protein every day can minimize your risk of heart disease and LDL level in blood.
You can prepare your sandwiches with soy nut butter instead of peanut butter for better results. Similarly, soy sausage or soy burger in meals can be a good replacement for your non-veg platters and give you more health benefits than the latter.
The list of foods that you can get ready for preparing low cholesterol recipes is almost endless. Apart from the above-mentioned foods, you can also use flaxseeds, coriander seeds, tofu, almonds, pistachios, whole-grain bread, and lentils have high nutritional values and have been proved in cholesterol reduction.
Lastly, one thing needs that you need to keep in mind is the key to good health includes a healthy lifestyle. No matter how much you try to include low-fat ingredients in your diet, regular exercise is a must to keep your cholesterol under control. Also, regular check-up of your LDL, HDL, and Triglyceride is necessary to understand your cholesterol trend.